AnswerLab > Company > Leadership


AnswerLab provides deep business and research experience.

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Amy Buckner Chowdhry

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Guided by a vision of the growing needs of an increasingly digital society, Amy Buckner Chowdhry founded AnswerLab a decade ago to help the world’s leading brands build better digital products. Under her watch, AnswerLab has grown to become a trusted partner to companies like Google, FedEx, Wal-Mart and more.  Amy’s insights can be found at, where she writes a column. In 2014, she was named one of Fortune’s 10 Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs.

Led by Amy, AnswerLab has also become known as an innovative workplace, and been honored with numerous awards for its growth and company culture.  For three consecutive years, the company earned a spot on Fortune’s List of Top 25 Companies to Work For.  And for six consecutive years AnswerLab has been on the Inc. 500/5000 and the San Francisco Business Times Top 100 fastest growing companies.

Amy’s entrepreneurial vision and leadership has earned her accolades such as being named by Ernst & Young as one of 10 “Entrepreneurial Winning Women.” The San Francisco Business Times recognized her as one of their “40 Under 40: Emerging Leaders,” and the Watermark organization honored Amy in their annual top 10 list of “Women Who Have Made Their Mark.”

Before founding AnswerLab, Amy served as Director of Professional Services at Vividence (now Keynote), the leading provider of online user experience research software and led User Experience at SmartPlanet, acquired by CNET Networks.  Amy speaks frequently at national conferences and educational institutions. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a degree in English and East Asian Studies.

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Pat Fleck

Chief Financial Officer

Pat has been providing strategic leadership to growth companies for 30 years. At AnswerLab, Pat runs the finance function and helps the leadership team drive AnswerLab’s strategic plan. Having spent his entire career in services industries, Pat understands that the key to long-term business success is maintaining a sharp focus on satisfying client goals.

Prior to joining AnswerLab, Pat was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at a leading Bay Area insurance broker, Sitzmann Morris & Lavis, where he managed the finance and accounting functions through the firm’s sale to publicly-traded Brown and Brown. Pat also brings experience in technology and innovation from his tenure as President of Cooper, a leading design and strategy firm. Pat began his career as a CPA with a national accounting firm, and he spent many years with leading financial services firms, such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, overseeing numerous process improvement initiatives and growth strategies, both organic and acquisition-focused.

Pat graduated at the top of his class with a degree in Accounting from California State University, Sacramento. He earned an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, where he was a Sloan Fellow.

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Pamela Walshe

Vice President of People & Client Experience

For more than a decade, Pamela has been bringing her fascination with human behavior to her user experience leadership roles.  At AnswerLab, Pamela leads the Research, Operations, and Human Resources functions to ensure our clients’ expectations are exceeded by the top talent in the industry.

Pamela’s user experience career has spanned across large corporations to nimble startups.  Before AnswerLab, Pamela was a Vice President of User Experience Research at Wells Fargo, where she delivered customer insights to drive development of the bank’s mobile and Web channels.  Earlier in her career she led usability research at Charles Schwab and Spring Studio.

Pamela earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and her Master’s degree from the University’s School of Information (iSchool), as part of the first graduating class of Berkeley’s innovative new program.

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Claudia Smith

Vice President of Research and Innovation

Claudia brings more than 15 years of consulting and user experience expertise to AnswerLab, where she is responsible for setting AnswerLab’s product strategy, developing new approaches to getting UX insights, and evaluating technology to address UX research questions.

Claudia has been part of the AnswerLab team since 2009, when she began using her in-depth understanding of how user experience insights fits into the product development lifecycle to advise industry leaders such as Google, ESPN, Wells Fargo, and Honda on how to approach UX research challenges. She came to AnswerLab after ten years at CNET/CBS Interactive, where she served as Director of Research overseeing her team of researchers spanning a wide range of research disciplines and leading local and global research initiatives for such sites as,, CBS, and Early in her career, she was at Mercer Management Consulting and was a research analyst at UC Berkeley.

Claudia graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Psychology, and she earned her MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC, Berkeley.

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Kate Taplin

Vice President of User Experience Strategy

For nearly 15 years, Kate has been advising clients how to make better decisions through innovative approaches to getting customer insights. As the Vice President of User Experience Strategy at AnswerLab, Kate is responsible for managing the team dedicated to growing relationships with the leading financial services, pharmaceutical, retail, and technology companies that rely on AnswerLab to solve their user experience challenges.

Kate joined AnswerLab in 2010, where she has brought her deep experience in product management, web-based approaches to research, and mobile industry expertise. Prior to AnswerLab, Kate was a Director of Product Management at Nielsen where was instrumental in architecting the measurement of mobile media and ran the largest wireless consumer study in the US. Kate began her career at MarketTools during the onset of web-based research, where she guided technology, consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail and pharmaceutical companies to move their research online.

Kate graduated from Rice University with dual majors in Sociology and Spanish, and she earned an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Deidre Kolarick

Vice President of User Experience, New York

Deidre is a user experience research leader with more than a dozen years experience in professional and academic settings. Since earning her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, she has been teaching research methods at the college level and managing user research projects and teams. At AnswerLab, Deidre leads our New York-based user experience insights team where she uses her analytical skills and consultative approach to develop research solutions to solve clients’ user experience challenges and ensure overall project success.

Prior to joining AnswerLab, Deidre developed a strong record of delivering actionable user experience insights and design recommendations for clients in the publishing, entertainment, finance, and healthcare industries as part of the Catalyst Group. She is an Adjunct Professor at New York University where she teaches graduate-level classes in Cognitive Psychology and Consumer Research Methods. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Hunter College teaching research methods.

Deidre graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in History, and she earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Yale University.